First Priest to Contact Intelligent Life

I recently read a book by Michael Z. Williamson called “Contact with Chaos.” It is a story of first contact, one in which we find them. It has a couple of interesting technology wrinkles, and his usual attention to military detail. However, that’s not what I’m going to write about. Instead I want to focus on a minor character named Fr. Dunn. He is one of a large number of people who want to greet the new intelligent life. The others are all opportunists, or with some other selfish agenda. Fr. Dunn, by contrast, is poised, respectful, intelligent, and offers to assist using his medical knowledge when the situation calls for it.

The intelligent species finds his faith puzzling, as does the protagonist (and perhaps the author himself), but everyone respects him. Very often, I find, authors of science fiction and fantasy take pains to mock or insult the Christian (or some other) faith. In doing so, they truncate their sales and shrink their market. In contract, author’s like Frank Herbert succeed, in part, of their positive portrayal of other groups. Dune both exalts and mystifies Arab culture and is beautifully written. When authors take the time to present opposing points of view in a positive light, they create depth. The reader isn’t told what to think, but is more able to draw his/her own conclusions.

This entry was posted in science fiction, writing. Bookmark the permalink.